Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley

Since Angela Giustino took the reins of Junior Achievement of Hudson Valley 14 years ago, the organization has seen a more than 500 percent increase in student participation.

Junior Achievement is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on economic education for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Through partnerships with schools and corporations, it aims to bridge the gap between the worlds of school and work.

That is something of which Giustino knows.

For her, it was Mercy College and its faculty who helped her bridge the gap between her day job and the classes she took at night. For the first time, she was able to actually apply what she learned in the classroom to her work. Giustino says she recalls being impressed by the caliber of her instructors - which included executives from Reader's Digest, major banks, and law firms. They were professionals in their respective fields, who applied real life experience to textbook theory.

They challenged her to approach both her work and personal life from a different perspective. She was inspired to go after whatever she wanted - whether it was the management degree she eventually earned, or the job of her choice.

Giustino was introduced to Junior Achievement while working as a vice president at a bank in Westchester County. She initially volunteered in its high school program, but soon started serving on several committees, and eventually joined its board of directors. She was named its president in February 1987.

Giustino is also actively involved in local school-to-work efforts, serving on various steering committees and school and community forums. Most recently, she was elected to serve on the advisory board of the Academy of Information Technology in Yonkers, NY, and the board of directors of the Great Potential Program, S.U.N.Y. Regional Partnership of Schools and Colleges, and Purchase College.